Young picked up a paintbrush amidst anti-Vietnam War and civil rights protests. He would later speak of his amazement at seeing citizens effecting change via sit-ins and marches: “You got to go to jail for something you believe in sometime.” Inspired by these protests and by the art activists that created Chicago’s Wall of Respect in 1967, Young said, “My feeling was the world might be better if I put up my protests,” many of which feature dense lines of figures with outstretched arms. In 1980, Young’s neighborhood erupted in protests and riots after four officers were acquitted in the beating death of Arthur McDuffie, a black man. “I’m just one in the crowd. I seen a picture of Rembrandt on Channel 2, how Rembrandt walked among the people. I smelled tear gas, I’ve seen people jump. See if I’m not painting the truth.”


All works Untitled and ca. 1980-1999


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